Did you know……
That the building on the corner of Walnut and Fourth Streets that is now the property of the Washington Historical Society was once the St. John African Methodist Episcopal Church?
The church was built in 1891 on the site of an old livery stable that had burned down. The congregation, founded in the 1860s, had originally met in a building near the intersection of Fifth and High Street. The four lots purchased in 1890 were very inexpensive due to the burned ruins of the stable being on site. Eventually the three adjacent lots were sold off leaving one lot, with the church building.
In 2004, the Historical Society purchased the building for two reasons; to save the structure from threatened demolition and to create an archival repository for hundreds of bound volumes of court records which the society had received over a period of years from the courthouse. Fortunately, with the help of much volunteer labor and persistence both goals were accomplished, and today the structure stands as a monument to the small African-American community that once called Washington “home”.
I would like to thank Marc Houseman, the Historical Museum Director, for providing the information above. Stay tuned for more History Connection entries on the blog soon!